North-South Star Migration?

It is arguable which one has contributed more to the dissolving of Mumbai's borders — social media or the Sea Link; but both have been responsible for the recent migratory phenomena of Bollywood moving southwards.

How else to explain the fact that not one, but two of its reigning stars, both residents of the suburbs, were observed partying over the weekend at Doppio, the newly-opened 'fun' dining eatery at Warden Road over the weekend?

Sonakshi Sinha celebrated her birthday at Doppio
Sonakshi Sinha celebrated her birthday at Doppio

Yes, social media, namely instagram posts reveal that Sonakshi Sinha chose to bring in her birthday along with twenty or so of her close friends including Chunky and Bhavna Pandey and Sanjay and Maheep Kapoor at the eatery down our road.

The other star to wander far from his usual grazing grounds was Ranbir Kapoor, who spent a couple of hours shooting the breeze with his mates at the same haunt recently. So down with the North-South divide. And here's to the Sea Link that brings people closer together and social media that makes what they do so accessible to all.

Too many Chefs?
Word comes in that there is a hunky new Italian chef in the kitchen of Vetro at the Oberoi Hotel. Chef Francesco Francavilla has recently taken over as head chef of the restaurant. We are informed that Francesco has previously worked in the kitchen of La Pergola, the three star Michelin restaurant at the Cavelieri in Rome.

Francesco Francavilla and Vineet Bhatia
Francesco Francavilla and Vineet Bhatia

But working in Rome's only three-starred restaurant is not the highlight in this chef's career; he was also the longstanding personal chef of Bruce Willis and has travelled the world, cooking traditional Italian cuisine for the Hollywood star, after a chance meeting while Willis was shooting in Rome.

And though we are not sure if Mr Willis has anything to do with it but at first look chef Francesco does look like a Hollywood star himself! And sticking with The Oberoi, word comes in that India's own Michelin starred chef Vineet Bhatia arrived in Mumbai yesterday.

Vineet has restaurants across the world including London, Geneva, Dubai and Mauritius and also set up the progressive Indian fine dining restaurant Ziya in Mumbai. He will be in the kitchen for the next week as part of his contract, by which he visits India every few months.

Phoning It In
"I guess my phone is now priceless! A couple of scenes in TE3N were shot on my iPhone 6S... by none other than Amitabh Bachchan himself!" says our friend and former colleague producer and writer Suresh Nair, who since his days as a reporter, has gone on to script some sensitive and well-received films like Kahaani, Airlift and Bang Bang.

Suresh Nair and Amitabh Bachchan
Suresh Nair and Amitabh Bachchan

His revelation followed on the heels of a recent report that the Big B had turned cinematographer for a few scenes on his soon to be released starrer TE3N, which Nair has contributed as one of a trio of scriptwriters. TE3N, said to be the official remake of the South Korean film Montage, stars Bachchan, along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan in lead roles and is said to be in the thriller genre.

Its star turn at the camera has thrilled its writer Nair too who says about the hallowed phone. 'OLX pe kabhi nahin bechunga!'

As passionate as his parents
His father Valmik Thapar is noted for his passion for tigers and their conservation and his mother Sanjana Kapoor for her passion for theatre. No surprises then that Hamir Thapar, son of these two committed individuals, is displaying every sign of inheriting their singular approach to things.

Valmik Thapar, Sanjana and Hamir
Valmik Thapar, Sanjana and Hamir

The handsome young teenager, grandson to Shashi and Jenifer Kapoor from his mom's side and to Raj and Romesh Thapar on his dad's, has a passion all his own and it's nothing to do with theatre, movies, politics or even tigers: it's cars! 'As we head off for our annual migration to the magnificent wilds of Africa - I share the realisation of my son's passion, in the form of his YouTube channel on CARS! Of all the things in the world," posted Sanjana about Hamir's obsession with a link to clips of the young car buff shot at the Delhi auto show where his knowledge about his subject and his fluency made for pretty impressive viewing.

That Gen Next is a leg up on the earlier one is an acknowledged truth, but Cars? As doting mom Sanjana, who sportingly aided and abetted the shooting of the video, says, "I guess to each their own Junoon!"

Friendly Advice Rejected
The one thing that friends of the beleaguered beer baron cannot understand is why on earth doesn't he just pay off the employees he owes money to. "He's always been so big hearted and generous," said one of them in bewilderment.

"I told him that he's in the mess he's in only because of two things, his flamboyant lifestyle and his non-payment of staff dues." He says, adding, "Let's face it, compared to other debtors my friend is the smallest and yet he's been made a scapegoat only on account of these two things.

All of us friends keep trying to convince him that if he just paid off his dues to his personnel -in fact threw in a generous gesture of benevolence to them he'd win back public opinion and even get away — like the others have done."
So why doesn't he pay, we asked.

"Just can't understand it," said the friend. "He says his accounts have been frozen and that he's being unfairly victimised; he just doesn't get the point…" he said his voice trailing off. "None of us can understand it."

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